Romance is a state of mind, but we’d like to think that 2024 is going to be a year for lovers. People flying solo could always just watch New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, but couples – and single folks – who have a deep affinity for romantic stories may prefer to cuddle up with a few great rom-coms to ring in the new year.
There is something deeply appealing about watching two people fall in love, even when that kind of connection can be so difficult to find in the real world. Finding someone who loves you is like finding the other part of yourself, and a second, third, or even fourth chance to get things right with a new romantic partner. That’s the connective theme between our picks for the three great rom-coms that you need to watch on New Year’s Day.
For more New Year’s selections, check out 3 great comedies to watch on New Year’s Eve, 5 movies that are perfect to watch on New Year’s Eve, 3 great Netflix shows you need to watch on New Year’s Eve, 10 best Netflix movies to watch on New Year’s Eve, and 3 great dramas you need to watch on New Year’s Eve.
For extra New Year’s Day suggestions, try 3 great Hulu shows you need to watch on New Year’s Day and 3 great Prime Video movies to watch on New Year’s Day.
Sleepless in Seattle is the perfect holiday movie because it begins around Christmas Eve, touches on New Year’s Eve, and memorably ends on Valentine’s Day. But that’s not why people have returned to watch this film for three decades. The real draw for this movie is the incredibly well-cast pair of leading performers, Tom Hanks (Asteroid City) and Meg Ryan, even though they barely share any scenes together.
Hanks’ Sam Baldwin is a recently widowed father of Jonah Baldwin (Ross Malinger), while Annie Reed (Ryan) is a woman who has just gotten engaged to Walter Jackson (Bill Pullman). After overhearing Jonah share his father’s story on a national radio show, Annie becomes enamored with the idea of meeting Sam. Since this story takes place before the internet blew up, Annie has to fly out to Seattle for some snooping and light stalking to get a better idea of who Sam is. But thanks to Jonah, Sam and Annie have a potential rendezvous on Valentine’s Day at the Empire State Building in New York … if either of them is willing to actually go through with the meeting.
Watch Sleepless in Seattle on AMC+.
It’s hard to believe it’s been 22 years since Bridget Jones’s Diary hit theaters. And if you get Pride and Prejudice vibes from this flick, it’s not a coincidence. One of Bridget’s suitors is named “Darcy,” after all. The film starts with a disastrous meeting between Bridget Jones (Renée Zellweger) and Mark Darcy (Love Actually‘s Colin Firth) where she overhears him call her out on her faults.
Bridget starts keeping a diary to improve herself, and she makes a play for her handsome boss, Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant). But everywhere she goes, Bridget keeps running into Mark, who has his own rivalry with Daniel. Over time, Bridget starts to have feelings for Mark, and he for her as well. Yet even when Daniel proves to be less than an ideal romantic partner, it’s far from certain that Bridget and Mark could ever be a couple.
Watch Bridget Jones’s Diary on Paramount+.
Silver Linings Playbook is a rom-com, but it also has some very serious dramatic scenes that keep it grounded. The heart of the story is about two very broken people: Pat Solitano Jr. (Bradley Cooper) and Tiffany Maxwell (Jennifer Lawrence, in one of her best movies). Pat caught his now ex-wife, Nikki Solitano (Brea Bee), cheating on him with another man, which triggered a breakdown. Tiffany’s husband died young, and she’s trying to fill that void in her life by devoting herself to a dance contest.
That’s why Tiffany makes a deal with Pat. If he agrees to be her partner in the dance competition, she’ll act as an intermediary with Nikki and help him reconcile with her. Lawrence was so good as Tiffany that she won an Oscar for Best Actress for her performance. And the romantic heat between Pat and Tiffany during their dance sessions is really something to behold.
Watch Silver Linings Playbook on Netflix.
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